The Forum dedicated to Arunachala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi => General topics => Topic started by: ksksat27 on April 25, 2014, 08:29:37 PM

Title: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: ksksat27 on April 25, 2014, 08:29:37 PM
Dear devotees

Some of you even Maharishee's devotees have this in your sub conscious in subtler form.

We have to remove this if we want real devotion and love.

Until the last trace of duality exists in us,  Gods like Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya , Subhramanya, Ganesha are as real as our prana.  Bhagavan himself has acknowledged many times the role of ishwara.

But some devotees,  find it hard to believe that Shiva exists in his form in Kailasa and exists as a mountain in Arunachala.

They think that forms are illusions, visions are just mental delusions and that no reality exists in them. 
The so called japa, sthothra they do only with the aim of concentration and mind purification.

They dont believe in Vaikunta or Chintamani gruha.

They jump into some dry theories,  call Lord Rama and other Dasavathars as some evolutionary concepts etc. etc.

These people often take the help of Ashtavakra Gita and Yoga vashistha.

Name and form are very very important in any sadhana.

Some time ago, Anand Sundaram had asked  a question about worshipping Bhagavan.  We received plenty of replies sugar coating and stressing the need of impersonal Bhagavan.
This is total misunderstanding of Bhagavan's teachings. Bhagavan Ramana did bless devotees who concentrated and worshipped his name and form.  Mudaliar Patti or Akhilandamaa often did grand arathi to Bhagavan's photos.  Echammal is another example.

In recent times, Sri Nanna Garu who never met Ramana in his lifetime simply took his name and form & attained great heights in Spiritual life.

The great sage Sri Lakshmana Swamy chanted Hare Ramana and concentrated on his name and form when he was severely afflicted by Malaria in Gudur. 

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ritter on May 04, 2014, 03:52:11 AM
As someone who was initiated in Tibetan Budhism (karma kagyu) after Advaita Vedanta... I asked one Lama about this issue, because in the Tibetan Buddhism there are infinite Buddha forms, that good one quality perfected till the absolute maximum value. Like Buddha of Compassion Avalokitesvara, etc. In fact it can be in some way similar to the concept of polyteistic Hindu Religion... One Absolute God, but with many faces, many Gods, that took some qualities from the impersonal God, as their own and our own Source. RETURN TO THE SOURCE! :)

I asked him ARE these Buddha forms illusion, some kind of our trip or not? Do they really exist? He answered me how I don't think even to think about that, as they are aid in my meditation, and as long as it is like that, there is no point to think about reality of them.

In my own humble opinion it is similar to the angels, seraphims or similar creatures in Western Religions, but I am not sure about it. For human eye, they are all depicted like that we can see in some pictures, paintings, etc. In fact, there is no way to present them visually in a good way, because they are in some higher dimensions, our eyes can't see so good... But sometimes, some people can feel the energy of these creatures, even talk to them...

I hold the same or similar view for these Infinite Buddha Forms, Half-Gods (Demigods), etc.

In kabbalistic view, mythology of different people presents also the Gods, but these Gods are some kind of archetypes of human soul, of its potential, guides how we can develop some of its qualities...

And in Jung's psychology (yes that the same Jung who was afraid and coward to see Ramana but, okay his psychology in some points is good to western mind), mythology is final proof of deep collective shared conciousness of the humanity. Different people across the globe, without the real physical connections, developed similar archetypical images, similar mythologies across the globe, that is who he finally got to this proof.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Anand on May 14, 2014, 09:32:34 PM
dear learned friends,
Related to this same topic, I would like some of our learned friends to give their opinion on the appearance of Lord Shiva to some of the Nayanmars ,in some case he appeared to more than one Nayanmar.
Was it only an illusion or hallucination (mass hallucination when seen by many ) or is it, that the one Brahman appeared as Lord Shiva in response to their complete surrender brought  about through  their devotion.
Regards,
Anand Sundaram.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 15, 2014, 07:08:02 AM
Dear Sundaram,

In ardent Bhakti, Siva comes before the devotees.  This is of course a vision.  But at the same time, unless these devotees
have in their Heart, Siva, the latter can appear.  Bhagavan says that Heart in Siva, means realization.  Narayana has also
appeared before devotees in the same fashion (e.g. Elephant Gajendra)

Arunachala Siva.,
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 15, 2014, 08:14:22 AM
Anand sundaram,

You have asked for responses from learned friends,yet I am responding here. :)

 
Quote
I would like some of our learned friends to give their opinion on the appearance of Lord Shiva to some of the Nayanmars ,in some case he appeared to more than one Nayanmar

How did Lord siva appear to Tiruneelakanta nAyanAr?How did he appear to sOmAsimAra nAyanAr?

We will start with these and proceed to understand the Nature of these Visions.

Please refer to this talk of Swami Vivekananda:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_2/Bhakti_or_Devotion (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_2/Bhakti_or_Devotion)


Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 16, 2014, 07:30:40 AM
Friends,
We are seeing so many forms -there is a huge variety out there in this world.Now in addition to this,if we happen to see one more form,with a Trident and matted locks and deer skin and with a third eye.What would make us conclude that it is Lord Siva and not an alien descended from another planet?
How do we recognize God?If as our friend Ksksat has said in another thread that Siva with form should come first and sivam will come later-Who is that Siva?What does he mean to us?What prevents us from taking(mistaking)siva to be another creature or Jiva like all other jivas?What would prevent us from shrinking by seeing  his three eyed Face that we may take as resembling a monster?Let us even take for Granted that such a siva exists in Kailasam.What does He mean to us now?What would He mean to us even granting that we land up in kailasam?
What is the Nature of God that makes us seek his presence?How is this presence related to his form?
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: atmavichar100 on May 16, 2014, 08:12:24 AM
From my personal experience, as well as from that of others within my knowledge, I can say that before recommending any path to an aspirant Bhagavan would first find out from him what aspect, or form, or path he was naturally drawn to and then recommend him to follow it. He would sometimes endorse the traditional stages of sadhana, advancing from worship (puja) to incantation (japa), then to meditation (dhyana), and finally to Self-enquiry (vichara). However, he also used to say that continuous and rigorous practice of any one of these methods was adequate in itself to lead to Realization. Thus, for instance, when one adopts the method of worship, say of the Shakti, one should, by constant practice and concentration, be able to see the Shakti everywhere and always and in everything and thus give up identification with the ego. Similarly with japa. By constant and continuous repetition of a mantra one gets merged in it and loses all sense of separate individuality. In dhyana again, in constant meditation, with bhavana or deep feeling, one attains the state of Bhavanatheeta, which is only another name for pure Consciousness. Thus, any method, if taken earnestly and practiced unremittingly, will result in elimination of the "I" and lead to the goal of Realization.


Concentrate on the Original Purpose by Kunju Swami( source:From the Mountain Path, July 1966)

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 16, 2014, 04:32:25 PM
Friends,
I will share excerpts from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna ,a book that i recommend over and over again-for the simplicity , clarity and inspiration that the words of the master carry for all seekers whatever the path he or she pursues. I will post a series of excerpts that clarify the nature of God with form,the personal God, the vision of God,etc,etc.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 16, 2014, 04:42:54 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-1 (M's second visit to Sri Ramakrishna ,1882)

God with and without form

MASTER: "Well, do you believe in God with form or without form?"

M., rather surprised, said to himself: "How can one believe in God without form when one believes in God with form? And if one believes in God without form, how can one believe that God has a form? Can these two contradictory ideas be true at the same time? Can a white liquid like milk be black?"

M: "Sir, I like to think of God as formless."

MASTER: "Very good. It is enough to have faith in either aspect. You believe in God without form; that is quite all right. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false. Remember that God with form is just as true as God without form. But hold fast to your own conviction."

The assertion that both are equally true amazed M.; he had never learnt this from his books. Thus his ego received a third blow; but since it was not yet completely crushed, he came forward to argue with the Master a little more.

God and the clay image
M: "Sir, suppose one believes in God with form. Certainly He is not the clay image!"

MASTER (interrupting): "But why clay? It is an image of Spirit."

M. could not quite understand the significance of this "image of Spirit". "But, sir," he said to the Master, "one should explain to those who worship the clay image that it is not God, and that, while worshipping it, they should have God in view and not the clay image. One should not worship clay."

God the only real teacher
MASTER (sharply): "That's the one hobby of you Calcutta people - giving lectures and bringing others to the light! Nobody ever stops to consider how to get the light himself. Who are you to teach others?He who is the Lord of the Universe will teach everyone. He alone teaches us, who has created this universe; who has made the sun and moon, men and beasts, and all other beings; who has provided means for their sustenance; who has given children parents and endowed them with love to bring them up. The Lord has done so many things - will He not show people the way to worship Him? If they need teaching, then He will be the Teacher. He is our Inner Guide.
Suppose there is an error in worshipping the clay image; doesn't God know that through it He alone is being invoked? He will he pleased with that very worship. Why should you get a headache over it? You had better try for knowledge and devotion yourself."

continued....
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 16, 2014, 04:50:28 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-1 continued...

This time M. felt that his ego was completely crushed. He now said to himself: "Yes, he has spoken the truth. What need is there for me to teach others? Have I known God? Do I really love Him? 'I haven't room enough for myself in my bed, and I am inviting my friend to share it with me!' I know nothing about God, yet I am trying to teach others. What a shame! How foolish I am! This is not mathematics or history or literature, that one can teach it to others. No, this is the deep mystery of God. What he says appeals to me."

This was M.'s first argument with the Master, and happily his last.

MASTER: "You were talking of worshipping the clay image. Even if the image is made of clay, there is need for that sort of worship. God Himself has provided different forms of worship. He who is the Lord of the Universe has arranged all these forms to suit different men in different stages of knowledge.
"The mother cooks different dishes to suit the stomachs of her different children. Suppose she has five children. If there is a fish to cook, she prepares various dishes from it - pilau, pickled fish, fried fish, and so on - to suit their different tastes and powers of digestion.Do you understand me?"

Need of holy company & Meditation in solitude

M. (humbly): "Yes, sir. How, sir, may we fix our minds on God?"

MASTER: "Repeat God's name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God's devotees and holy men. The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities; it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God. To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practises meditation in solitude. When a tree is young it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle.

"To meditate, you should withdraw within yourself or retire to a secluded corner or to the forest. And you should always discriminate between the Real and the unreal. God alone is real, the Eternal Substance; all else is unreal, that is, impermanent. By discriminating thus, one should shake off impermanent objects from the mind."

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 07:53:34 AM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-2

How to see God
M: "Is it possible to see God?"

MASTER: "Yes, certainly. Living in solitude now and then, repeating God's name and singing His glories, and discriminating between the Real and the unreal - these are the
means to employ to see Him."

Longing and yearning

M: "Under what conditions does one see God?"

MASTER: "Cry to the Lord with an intensely yearning heart and you will certainly see Him. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money.But who weeps for God? Cry to Him with a real cry."

The Master sang:
Cry to your Mother Syama , with a real cry, O mind!
And how can She hold Herself from you?
How can Syama stay away?
How can your Mother Kali hold Herself away?
O mind, if you are in earnest, bring Her an offering
Of bel-leaves and hibiscus flowers;
Lay at Her feet your offering
And with it mingle the fragrant sandal-paste of Love.

Continuing, he said: "Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God.God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child's attraction for its mother, and the husband's attraction for the chaste wife. If one feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions, then through it one can attain Him.
The point is, to love God even as the mother loves her child, the chaste wife her husband, and the worldly man his wealth. Add together these three forces of love, these three powers of attraction, and give it all to God. Then you will certainly see Him".

"It is necessary to pray to Him with a longing heart. The kitten knows only how to call its mother, crying, 'Mew, mew!' It remains satisfied wherever its mother puts it. And the mother cat puts the kitten sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes on the floor, and sometimes on the bed. When it suffers it cries only, 'Mew, mew!' That's all it knows. But as soon as the mother hears this cry, wherever she may be; she comes to the kitten."

Friends,just like the kitten knows only to cry 'mew,mew' ,we may also only call on God by chanting his name and wanting him intensely.The kitten may not even have opened its eyes to see its mother.It may not even know how its mother looks like,whether black or white.It only knows that its mother is there and will come to feed it with milk-Likewise,the Sadhaka does not need to have any understanding about how God looks like,whether He is with form or without form.He only needs to call on God.This is the simplicity and directness of the teaching.Here is the essence of Sadhana.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 07:06:04 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-3

Prayer and holy company & Earnest longing
MASTER: "Prayer and the company of holy men. You cannot get rid of an ailment without the help of a physician. But it is not enough to be in the company of religious people only for a day. You should constantly seek it, for the disease has become chronic. Again, you can't understand the pulse rightly unless you live with a physician. Moving with him constantly, you learn to distinguish between the pulse of phlegm and the pulse of bile."

DEVOTEE: "What is the good of holy company?"

MASTER: "It begets yearning for God. It begets love of God. Nothing whatsoever is achieved in spiritual life without yearning. By constant living in the company of holy men,the soul becomes restless for God. This yearning is like the state of mind of a man who has someone ill in the family. His mind is in a state of perpetual restlessness, thinking how the sick person may be cured. Or again, one should feel a yearning for God like the yearning of a man who has lost his job and is wandering from one office to another in search of work. If he is rejected at a certain place which has no vacancy, he goes there again the next day and inquires, 'Is there an vacancy today?'

"There is another way: earnestly praying to God. God is our very own. We should say to Him: 'O God, what is Thy nature? Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must show Thyself to me; for why else hast Thou created me?' Some Sikh devotees once said to me, 'God is full of compassion.' I said: 'But why should we call Him compassionate? He is our Creator. What is there to be wondered at if He is kind to us? Parents bring up their children. Do you call that an act of kindness? They must act that way.' Therefore we should force our demands on God. He is our Father and Mother, isn't He? If the son demands his patrimony and gives up food and drink in order to enforce his demand, then the parents hand his share over to him three years before the legal time. Or when the child demands some pice from his mother, and says over and over again: 'Mother, give me a couple of pice. I beg you on my knees!' - then the mother, seeing his earnestness, and unable to bear it any more, tosses the money to him.

"There is another benefit from holy company. It helps one cultivate discrimination between the Real and the unreal. God alone is the Real, that is to say, the Eternal Substance, and the world is unreal, that is to say, transitory. As soon as a man finds his mind wandering away to the unreal, he should apply discrimination. The moment an elephant stretches out its trunk to eat a plantain-tree in a neighbour's garden, it gets a blow from the iron goad of the driver."

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 07:28:43 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-4

M: "Sir, what is the meaning of the realization of God? What do you mean by God-vision? How does one attain it?"

MASTER: "According to the Vaishnavas the aspirants and the seers of God may be divided into different groups. These are the pravartaka, the sadhaka, the siddha, and the siddha of the siddha. He who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories.
He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. An analogy is given in the Vedanta to explain this. The master of the house is asleep in a dark room. Someone is groping in the darkness to find him. He touches the couch and says, 'No, it is not he.' He touches the window and says, 'No, it is not he.' He touches the door and says, 'No, it is not he.' This is known in the Vedanta as the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'. At last his hand touches the master's body and he exclaims, 'Here he is!' In other words, he is now conscious of the 'existence' of the master. He has found him, but he doesn't yet know him intimately.
There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect'. It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately.

Different moods of aspirants

"But in order to realize God, one must assume one of these attitudes: Santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, or madhur.
"Santa, the serene attitude. The rishis of olden times had this attitude toward God. They did not desire any worldly enjoyment. It is like the single-minded devotion of a wife to her husband. She knows that her husband is the embodiment of beauty and love, a veritable Madan.
"Dasya, the attitude of a servant toward his master. Hanuman had this attitude toward Rama. He felt the strength of a lion when he worked for Rama. A wife feels this mood also. She serves her husband with all her heart and soul. A mother also has a little of this attitude, as Yasoda had toward Krishna.
"Sakhya, the attitude of friendship. Friends say to one another, 'Come here and sit near me.' Sridama and other friends sometimes fed Krishna with fruit, part of which they had already eaten, and sometimes climbed on His shoulders.
"Vatsalya, the attitude of a mother toward her child. This was Yasoda's attitude toward Krishna. The wife, too, has a little of this. She feeds her husband with her very life-blood, as it were. The mother feels happy only when the child has eaten to his heart's content. Yasoda would roam about with butter in her hand, in order to feed Krishna.
"Madhur, the attitude of a woman toward her paramour. Radha had this attitude toward Krishna. The wife also feels it for her husband. This attitude includes all the other four."

Friends,Please refer excerpt 2 that I have posted earlier.The master is just reiterating again the need to enter into relationship with God and loving him intensely.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 07:34:41 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-5

M: "When one sees God does one see Him with these eyes?"

MASTER: "God cannot be seen with these physical eyes. In the course of spiritual discipline one gets a 'love body', endowed with 'love eyes', 'love ears', and so on. One sees God with those 'love eyes'. One hears the voice of God with those 'love ears'. One even gets a sexual organ made of love."

At these words M. burst out laughing. The Master continued, unannoyed, "With this 'love body' the soul communes with God." M. again became serious.

Seeing God everywhere

MASTER: "But this is not possible without intense love of God. One sees nothing but God everywhere when one loves Him with great intensity. It is like a person with jaundice, who sees everything yellow. Then one feels, 'I am verily He'.

"A drunkard, deeply intoxicated, says, 'Verily I am Kali!' The gopis, intoxicated with love, exclaimed, 'Verily I am Krishna!'

"One who thinks of God, day and night, beholds Him everywhere. It is like a man's seeing flames on all sides after he has gazed fixedly at one flame for some time."

"But that isn't the real flame", flashed through M.'s mind.

Sri Ramakrishna, who could read a man's inmost thought, said: "One doesn't lose consciousness by thinking of Him who is all Spirit, all Consciousness. Shivanath once remarked that too much thinking about God confounds the brain. Thereupon I said to him, 'How can one become unconscious by thinking of Consciousness?'

M: "Yes, sir, I realize that. It isn't like thinking of an unreal object. How can a man lose his intelligence if he always fixes his mind on Him whose very nature is eternal Intelligence?"

MASTER (with pleasure): "It is through God's grace that you understand that. The doubts of the mind will not disappear without His grace. Doubts do not disappear without Self realization.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 08:07:43 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-6

Meditation on God with form

Master:"How are you getting along with your meditation nowadays? What aspect of God appeals to your mind - with form or without form?"

M: "Sir, now I can't fix my mind on God with form. On the other hand, I can't concentrate steadily on God without form."

MASTER: "Now you see that the mind cannot be fixed, all of a sudden, on the formless aspect of God. It is wise to think of God with form during the primary stages."

M: "Do you mean to suggest that one should meditate on clay images?"

MASTER: "Why clay? These images are the embodiments of Consciousness."

M: "Even so, one must think of hands, feet, and the other parts of body. But again, I realize that the mind cannot be concentrated unless one meditates, in the beginning, on God with form. You have told me so. Well, God can easily assume different forms. May one meditate on the form of one's own mother?"

MASTER: "Yes, the mother should be adored. She is indeed an embodiment of Brahman."

Friends,This is the true significance of the upanishadic statement-'mAtru Devo Bhava,Pitru devO bhava,AchArya devO bhava'-Regard the Mother as God,Regard the Father as God,Regard the Teacher as God.All the sayings of the Master here are as in the upanishads and in the Gita;Only that he has stated all this in a simple way that a child can understand.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 08:38:50 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-7

No finality about God's nature

A BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "Sir, has God forms or has He none?"

MASTER: "No one can say with finality that God is only 'this' and nothing else. He is formless, and again He has forms. For the bhakta He assumes forms. But He is formless for the jnani, that is, for him who looks on the world as a mere dream. The bhakta feels that he is one entity and the world another. Therefore God reveals Himself to him as a Person. But the jnani-the Vedantist, for instance-always reasons, applying the process of 'Not this, not this'. Through this discrimination he realizes, by his inner perception, that the ego and the universe are both illusory, like a dream. Then the jnani realizes Brahman in his own consciousness. He cannot describe what Brahman is.

"Do you know what I mean? Think of Brahman, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, as a shore less ocean. Through the cooling influence, as it were, of the bhakta's love, the water has frozen at places into blocks of ice. In other words, God now and then assumes various forms for His lovers and reveals Himself to them as a Person. But with the rising of the sun of Knowledge, the blocks of ice melt. Then one doesn't feel any more that God is a Person, nor does one see God's forms. What He is cannot be described. Who will describe Him? He who would do so disappears. He cannot find his 'I' any more.

Friends,we can clearly see how the master explains the Nature of God so simply and wonderfully.He does not dismiss the forms of God and visions as 'kalpana' or 'mental formations' etc.He views them as embodiment of Satchidananda.Yet he also talks about the 'ice melting' into the formlesness as well.Here lies his reaching out to one and all,satisfying head and heart.This is exactly the way Lord Sri krishna teaches Arjuna in the Gita,harmonizing everything,always encouraging and never ever nonplussing the seeker.

our friend Krishna(ksksat) has wanted to express himself on this aspect ,not to be dismissive of the forms of god like shiva,vishnu,Ganesha,etc  that are worshipped by devotees,not to turn away from God endowed with forms and qualities in a irreverent way.In fact Sri Bhagavan also invokes Lord Sri Ganesha at the very beginning of the unparalleled Akshara maNa mAlai.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 08:55:50 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-8

Personal God for devotees

Master:"The Saguna Brahman is meant for the bhaktas. In other words, a bhakta believes that God has attributes and reveals Himself to men as a Person, assuming forms. It is He who listens to our prayers. The prayers that you utter are directed to Him alone. You are bhaktas, not jnanis or Vedantists. It doesn't matter whether you accept God with form or not. It is enough to feel that God is a Person who listens to our prayers, who creates, preserves, and destroys the universe, and who is endowed with infinite power.
"It is easier to attain God by following the path of devotion."

BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "Sir, is it possible for one to see God? If so, why can't we see Him?"

MASTER: "Yes, He can surely be seen. One can see His forms, and His formless aspect as well. How can I explain that to you?"

Intense longing enables one to see God

BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "What are the means by which one can see God?"

MASTER: "Can you weep for Him with intense longing of heart? Men shed a jugful of tears for the sake of their children, for their wives, or for money. But who weeps for God? So long as the child remains engrossed with its toys, the mother looks after her cooking and other household duties. But when the child no longer relishes the toys, it throws them aside and yells for its mother. Then the mother takes the rice-pot down from the hearth, runs in haste, and takes the child in her arms."

We may see here the great compassion and earnestness on the part of the Master-How he wants to reach out to the lowest of the lowly,the most ordinary of the ordinary man-He acknowledges the fact-' You are bhaktas, not jnanis or Vedantists'.He says as if wondering for a moment-'How can I explain to you?' and so wonderfully explains it in such a charming and telling fashion.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 09:06:03 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-9

Why so much controversy about God?

BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "Sir, why are there so many different opinions about the nature of God? Some say that God has form, while others say that He is formless. Again, those who speak of God with form tell us about His different forms. Why all this controversy?"

MASTER: "A devotee thinks of God as he sees Him. In reality there is no confusion about God. God explains all this to the devotee if the devotee only realizes Him somehow. You haven't set your foot in that direction. How can you expect to know all about God?

Parable of the chameleon

"Listen to a story. Once a man entered a wood and saw a small animal on a tree. He came back and told another man that he had seen a creature of a beautiful red colour on a certain tree. The second man replied: 'When I went into the wood, I also saw that animal. But why do you call it red? It is green.' Another man who was present contradicted them both and insisted that it was yellow. Presently others arrived and contended that it was grey, violet, blue, and so forth and so on. At last they started quarrelling among themselves. To settle the dispute they all went to the tree. They saw a man sitting under it. On being asked, he replied: 'Yes, I live under this tree and I know the animal very well. All your descriptions are true. Sometimes it appears red, sometimes yellow, and at other times blue, violet, grey, and so forth. It is a chameleon. And sometimes it has no colour at all. Now it has a colour, and now it has none.'

"In like manner, one who constantly thinks of God can know His real nature; he alone knows that God reveals Himself to seekers in various forms and aspects. God has attributes; then again He has none. Only the man who lives under the tree knows that the chameleon can appear in various colours, and he knows, further, that the animal at times has no colour at all. It is the others who suffer from the agony of futile argument.

Kabir used to say, 'The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my Mother.'

God reveals Himself in the form which His devotee loves most. His love for the devotee knows no bounds. It is written in the Purana that God assumed the form of Rama for His heroic devotee, Hanuman.

Friends,This is one excerpt that will set at rest all doubts that one may possibly have.The parable of the chameleon is truly wonderful.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 09:12:39 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-10

Vedantic Non-dualism

"The forms and aspects of God disappear when one discriminates in accordance with the Vedanta philosophy. The ultimate conclusion of such discrimination is that Brahman alone is real and this world of names and forms illusory. It is possible for a man to see the forms of God, or to think of Him as a Person, only so long as he is conscious that he is a devotee. From the standpoint of discrimination this 'ego of a devotee' keeps him a little away from God.

"Do you know why images of Krishna or Kali are three and a half cubits high? Because of distance. Again, on account of distance the sun appears to be small. But if you go near it you will find the sun so big that you won't be able to comprehend it. Why have images of Krishna and Kali a dark-blue colour? That too is on account of distance, like the water of a lake, which appears green, blue, or black from a distance. Go near, take the water in the palm of your hand, and you will find that it has no colour. The sky also appears blue from a distance. Go near and you will see that it has no colour at all.

Therefore I say that in the light of Vedantic reasoning Brahman has no attributes. The real nature of Brahman cannot be described. But so long as your individuality is real, the world also is real, and equally real are the different forms of God and the feeling that God is a Person.

Yours is the path of bhakti. That is very good; it is an easy path. Who can fully know the infinite God? and what need is there of knowing the Infinite? Having attained this rare human birth, my supreme need is to develop love for the Lotus Feet of God.

If a jug of water is enough to remove my thirst, why should I measure the quantity of water in a lake? I become drunk on even half a bottle of wine-what is the use of my calculating the quantity of liquor in the tavern? What need is there of knowing the Infinite?

Friends,Wonderful saying of the Master that harmonizes and puts everything in just the Right perspective.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 09:32:27 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-11

A MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Sir, what is the way?"

Two ways of God-realization

MASTER: "There are two ways. One is the path of discrimination, the other is that of love. Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal. God alone is the real and permanent Substance; all else is illusory and impermanent. The magician alone is real; his magic is illusory. This is discrimination.
"Discrimination and renunciation. Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal. Renunciation means to have dispassion for the things of the world. One cannot acquire them all of a sudden. They must be practised every day. One should renounce 'woman and gold' mentally at first. Then, by the will of God, one can renounce it both mentally and outwardly. It is impossible to ask the people of Calcutta to renounce all for the sake of God. One has to tell them to renounce mentally.

Constant practice urged

"Through the discipline of constant practice one is able to give up attachment to 'woman and gold'. That is what the Gita says. By practice one acquires uncommon power of mind. Then one doesn't find it difficult to subdue the sense-organs and to bring anger, lust, and the like under control. Such a man behaves like a tortoise, which, once it has tucked in its limbs, never puts them out. You cannot make the tortoise put its limbs out again, though you chop it to pieces with an axe."

MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Revered sir, you just mentioned two paths. What is the other path?"

MASTER: "The path of bhakti, or zealous love of God. Weep for God in solitude, with a restless soul, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.

"Cry to your Mother Syama with a real
cry, O mind! And how can She hold Herself from you? "

MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Sir, what is the meaning of the worship of the Personal God? And what is the meaning of God without form or attribute?"

MASTER: "As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality.

"Do you know what God with form is like? Like bubbles rising on an expanse of water, various divine forms are seen to rise out of the Great akasa of Consciousness. The Incarnation of God is one of these forms. The Primal Energy sports, as it were, through the activities of a Divine Incarnation.

What is there in mere scholarship? God can be attained by crying to Him with a longing heart. There is no need to know many things.

He who is an acharya has to know different things. One needs a sword and shield to kill others; but to kill oneself, a needle or a nail-knife suffices.

One ultimately discovers God by trying to know who this 'I' is. Is this 'I' the flesh, the bones, the blood, or the marrow? Is it the mind or the buddhi? Analysing thus, you realize at last that you are none of these. This is called the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'.

One can neither comprehend nor touch the Atman. It is without qualities or attributes.

But, according to the path of devotion, God has attributes. To a devotee Krishna is Spirit, His Abode is Spirit, and everything about Him is Spirit.

The Marwari devotees saluted the Master and took their leave.

Friends,Here the Master explains the significance of worship of form-He says -'As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality'.
He also explains the significance of abode of god or Lokas like kailasam or vaikuntam-He Says-'To a devotee Krishna is Spirit, His Abode is Spirit, and everything about Him is Spirit'
In other words Siva is Sivam as well and 'anbey sivam'-meaning 'Love alone is sivam'.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 17, 2014, 09:58:58 PM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-12

Illustration of the ocean and the ice

Master:(To the goswami) "How can you say that the only truth about God is that He has form? It is undoubtedly true that God comes down to earth in a human form, as in the case of Krishna. And it is true as well that God reveals Himself to His devotees in various forms. But it is also true that God is formless; He is the Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.He has been described in the Vedas both as formless and as endowed with form. He is also described there both as attributeless and as endowed with attributes.
"Do you know what I mean? Satchidananda is like an infinite ocean. Intense cold freezes the water into ice, which floats on the ocean in blocks of various forms. Likewise, through the cooling influence of bhakti, one sees forms of God in the Ocean of the Absolute. These forms are meant for the bhaktas, the lovers of God. But when the Sun of Knowledge rises, the ice melts; it becomes the same water it was before. Water above and water below, everywhere nothing but water. Therefore a prayer in the Bhagavata says: 'O Lord, Thou hast form, and Thou art also formless. Thou walkest before us, O Lord, in the shape of a man; again, Thou hast been described in the Vedas as beyond words and thought.'
But you may say that for certain devotees God assumes eternal forms. There are places in the ocean where the ice doesn't melt at all. It assumes the form of quartz."

KEDAR: "It is said in the Bhagavata that Vyasa asked God's forgiveness for his three transgressions. He said: 'O Lord, Thou art formless, but I have thought of Thee in my
meditation as endowed with form; Thou art beyond speech, but I have sung Thee hymns; Thou art the All-pervading Spirit, but I have made pilgrimages to sacred places. Be gracious, O Lord, and forgive these three transgressions of mine.'"

MASTER: "Yes, God has form and He is formless too. Further, He is beyond both form and formlessness. No one can limit Him."

In the very first excerpt,Sri Ramakrishna tells M -'You believe in God without form; that is quite all right. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false'.
In this excerpt He is telling the Vaishnava devotee-'How can you say that the only truth about God is that He has form? It is undoubtedly true that God comes down to earth in a human form, as in the case of Krishna. And it is true as well that God reveals Himself to His devotees in various forms. But it is also true that God is formless'

This is the lesson that we may learn -not to hold on to our pet ideas and stagnate-but to be open and at the same time go ahead with whatever little understanding and conviction that we have,putting our heart and soul into it.The problem is  when we turn this limited understanding into something that is universal and  sacrosanct for one and all ,as if it is definitive and final for one and all.
Time and again we get to read in this forum and elsewhere as well -'All so and so  Bhaktas' should do this or that,etc,etc.The worship of form  can easily turn into a cult as in the vast majority of cases.We then have Shaivites vs vaishnavites,ShaktAs vs vaishnavites,etc .
There is only one Truth,only one God-Satchidananda and all are devotees of such a God only.The Master emphasizes this aspect and frees the devotee from all trappings.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 18, 2014, 08:18:17 AM
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-13

Oneness of God

Master:The Truth established in the Vedas, the Puranas, and the Tantras is but one Satchidananda. In the Vedas It is called Brahman, in the Puranas It is called Krishna, Rama, and so on, and in the Tantras It is called Siva. The one Satchidananda is called Brahman, Krishna, and Siva.

The inferior devotee says, 'God exists, but He is very far off, up there in heaven.' The mediocre devotee says, 'God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.'
The superior devotee says: 'It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. Nothing exists but God.'


Friends,We covered just about everything-The manifestation of God with form,his formless aspect,The Nature of the Form as embodiment of spirit,The abode of God as spirit and finally the Limitless Nature of God and how ']It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. Nothing exists but God.'
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 18, 2014, 08:30:39 AM
Friends,
What Sri Bhagavan has to say on Vaikuntam and Kailasa and the other worlds?

31st January, 1946 (33) ASTRAL PATHS ? HIGHER WORLDS

This morning after reading an article in the newspaper about paths beyond the sun and the higher worlds, Bhagavan said, 'They write a lot about the paths beyond the sun and other planets, and the blissful worlds above them. All those worlds also are like this world. There is nothing specially great about them. Here, a song is being transmitted over the radio. Last time, it was from Madras. Now it is from Tiruchirapalli. If you tune again it will be from Mysore. All these places are in Tiruvannamalai, within this short time. It is the same way with the other worlds. You have only to turn your minds to them. You can see them all in one moment. But what is the use? You merely go about from place to place get tired and disgusted. Where is shanti (peace)? If you want it, you must know the eternal truth. If you cannot know that, the mind will not get absorbed in shanti.'

Similarly someone enquired of Bhagavan some time back, 'People talk of Vaikunta, Kailasa, Indraloka, Chandraloka, etc. Do they really exist?' Bhagavan replied, 'Certainly. You can rest assured that they all exist. There also a Swami like me will be found seated on a couch and disciples will also be seated around him. They will ask something and he will say something in reply. Everything will be more or less like this. What of that? If one sees Chandraloka, he will ask for Indraloka, and after Indraloka, Vaikunta and after Vaikunta, Kailasa, and so on, and the mind goes on wandering. Where is shanti? If shanti is required, the only correct method of securing it is by Self-enquiry. Through Self-enquiry Selfrealisation is possible. If one realises the Self, one can see all these worlds within one's self. The source of everything is one's own Self, and if one realises the Self, one will not find anything different from the Self. Then these questions will not arise. There may or may not be a Vaikunta or a Kailasa but it is a fact that you are here, isn't it? How are you here? Where are you? After you know about these things, you can think of all those worlds.'

Excerpt from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 18, 2014, 08:40:14 AM
4th April, 1948 (171) KAILASA

This morning a devotee brought an old copy of the Peria Puranam and gave it to Bhagavan. Reading the story about Sundaramurti going to Kailasa, Bhagavan said, 'It seems that Sundaramurti found that after his own arrival, the Chera Raja had arrived on horseback almost immediately. The Raja asked him, 'How did you come here without my calling?'. So saying Bhagavan read a verse from it. A Tamil youth, who was present, said, 'Where is that Kailasa, Swami?'

 'Kailasa! It is at the very place where we are. First of all, tell me where we are?' said Bhagavan.

'That's not it, Swami. The Kailasa of which you have just read, that Sundaramurti had gone to; does it really exist? If so, where is it? Please favour me with a proper reply' said the young man.

'I have told you already' said Bhagavan. 'We have come here now. From here we will go to some other place. If all this is true, then that also is true. There, also, a Swami will be found seated on a raised pedestal. Just like this there will be devotees around. They ask something; he replies something. That will also be like this. If you look at the thing from the point of view of the body, that is how it is. If, however, you look at it from the point of view of truth, wherever we are, it is Kailasa. There is no question of its being born or growing or dying. When we realize that there is nothing real in this world, Kailasa is everywhere'.

'How will that be known?' the young man asked.

'Everyone knows that he is in existence. You were in existence when you were born, when you were a year old, when you were in middle age and when you were old. You  have not changed; it is only the body that has changed. To know that your SELF has not changed, this illustration itself is enough,?' said Bhagavan.

Excerpt from The Letters from Sri Ramanasramam.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: ksksat27 on May 19, 2014, 06:13:08 PM
Friends,
We are seeing so many forms -there is a huge variety out there in this world.Now in addition to this,if we happen to see one more form,with a Trident and matted locks and deer skin and with a third eye.What would make us conclude that it is Lord Siva and not an alien descended from another planet?
How do we recognize God?If as our friend Ksksat has said in another thread that Siva with form should come first and sivam will come later-Who is that Siva?What does he mean to us?What prevents us from taking(mistaking)siva to be another creature or Jiva like all other jivas?What would prevent us from shrinking by seeing  his three eyed Face that we may take as resembling a monster?Let us even take for Granted that such a siva exists in Kailasam.What does He mean to us now?What would He mean to us even granting that we land up in kailasam?
What is the Nature of God that makes us seek his presence?How is this presence related to his form?
Namaskar.

Dear Ravi sir,

You have given the above reply and later quoted many Thakur's gospels.

If one does not really believe in three eyed Shiva and Kailash,  and the reality of Shiva form what use it is to do meditation, advaita sadhana and call oursevles sadhakas of Ramana Maharishee or Ramakrishna?

Better frankly admit that I dont believe in any form of God like Arya Samaj.  And proclaim clearly that the forms are nothing but imaginary paintings just to help on concentration , focus , chittha suddhi etc. etc.

I think with such mentality one can follow Buddha and his teachings -- Buddha was atleast honest to admit what he believed and what not.

It is totally conflict to still believe on Nayanmars and use their devotion to prove our own logical principles and complexities of the mind.

When Papa Ramadas or Papaji or Pamban Swamigal did tapas on Rama, Krishna or Muruga they did not do it just as an 'aid' for the concentration.

What is the use in just acting like believing while in the heart and heart,  we give room for our doubting mind and 100% sure that Shiva is an illusion?

If one cannot see Shiva or Vishnu it is because one is not having the full devotion.  That does not mean Shiva and Vishnu are illusions.

I think here we are almost sure of the fact that only this earth is real and that Kailasha and Vaikunta are only Chumbak story planets.

We are no better than atheists.  Atleast they have the truth to speak what they feel. We chant Rudram and chamakam and do all deva tharpanams but deny Mahadeva as just an aid or illusionary form?  Sambo Siva Sankara.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 19, 2014, 06:36:35 PM
Dear Krishnan and Ravi,

As for as Sri Bhagavan is concerned, He believed only in Consciousness, Sivam and not in any personal gods. Of course,
as soon as He reached Annamalai, He embraced the Siva Linga, calling Him as His Father.  But at the same time, He did
not discourage devotees  to pray to personal gods.   


See this verse:

அரியாதி இதர சீவரது அக வாரிச குகையில்
அறிவாய் ரமி பரமாத்துமன் அருணாசல ரமணன்
பரிவால் உளம் உருகா நல பரன் ஆர்ந்திடு குகை ஆர்ந்து
அறிவாம் விழி திறவா நிசம் அறிவாய் அது வெளியாம்.

In the recesses of the lotus shaped hearts of all, beginning with Vishnu, there shines as pure intellect (Absolute
Consciousness) inmost recess of the Heart wherein He dwells as the beloved, the subtle eye of pure intellect opens
and He reveals Himself as Pure Consciousness.


Arunachala Siva. 
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Beloved Abstract on May 19, 2014, 06:49:24 PM
grasp and reject , grasp and reject .... this is the mind
so many beliefs .... so little time
 :)
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 19, 2014, 08:26:43 PM
Ksksat,
If you carefully and earnestly go through whatever has been presented you will get the answers to the questions that are raised prior to the series of post.The point is simply this-You are thinking that the form of siva is onething and the Nature of Siva which is Sivam is another,which is just belief and misplaced.All I have said is that without the Sivam or Consciousness,form does not mean anything.Form and name go along with the quality they represent.Mere three eyes,matted locks,trident ,Deer skin do not mean that it is Siva.Siva is Sivam-anbeY Sivam,Love alone is sivam.Siva appeared to the Nayanmars in various forms ,to say that all are his forms only.He appeared to somAsi nAyanAr in the form of an untouchable with his wife and 4 dogs.It was on account of the tapas of sOmAsimAra nAyanAr and how he had served sunadaramurthy nAyanAr who vouchsafed him this inner vision -that he could see God in that form and understood that the Lord has appeared in that form and that the 4 dogs meant the 4 vedas.He realized that all forms are that of siva and permeating them is the pure consciousness, that is sivam.The Rest of the Brahmins who had gathered there to perform yAgam rushed out of that place on seeing the untouchable and the dogs.They also saw what sOmAsimAra nAyanAr saw but did not recognize Him.Seeing a form does not mean anything without perceiving the consciousness behind the form.
Whoever said that chanting the name is for concentration?Please read my posts from the Gospel.
Our friend Subramanian has pointed out already that without recognizing the sivam in us,we cannot recognize the sivam in any other form,when he quoted manikkavAchakar.I have paraphrased what he has said.

Namaskar.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 19, 2014, 09:22:10 PM
ksksat/Friends,
Just posting a couple of  saying of Sri Ramakrishna that I have already posted in the series of posts earlier:

Quote
To a devotee Krishna is Spirit, His Abode is Spirit, and everything about Him is Spirit.

Quote
MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Sir, what is the meaning of the worship of the Personal God? And what is the meaning of God without form or attribute?"

MASTER: "As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality
.

Namaskar
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 07:10:23 AM
ksksat(Krishna)/Friends,
In the context of what we are discussing please refer to what Swami Vivekananda has spoken about Devotion:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_2/Bhakti_or_Devotion (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_2/Bhakti_or_Devotion)

Namaskar.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 07:24:46 AM
Friends,
Here is an excerpt from that wonderful chapter 'Four aids' from Sri Aurobindo's 'Synthesis of Yoga':

The spiritual progress of most human beings demands an extraneous support, an object of faith outside us. It needs an external image of God; or it needs a human representative, - Incarnation, Prophet or Guru; or it demands both and receives them. For according to the need of the human soul the Divine manifests himself as deity, as human divine or in simple humanity, - using that thick disguise, which so successfully conceals the Godhead, for a means of transmission of his guidance.

The Hindu discipline of spirituality provides for this need of the soul by the conceptions of the Ishta Devata, the Avatar and the Guru. By the Ishta Devata, the chosen deity, is meant, - not some inferior Power, but a name and form of the transcendent and universal Godhead. Almost all religions either have as their base or make use of some such name and form of the Divine. Its necessity for the human soul is evident. God is the All and more than the All. But that which is more than the All, how shall man conceive? And even the All is at first too hard for him; for he himself in his active consciousness is a limited and selective formation and can open himself only to that which is in harmony with his limited nature. There are things in the All which are too hard for his comprehension or seem too terrible to his sensitive emotions and cowering sensations. Or, simply, he cannot conceive as the Divine, cannot approach or cannot recognise something that is too much out of the circle of his ignorant or partial conceptions. It is necessary for him to conceive God in his own image or at some form that is beyond himself but consonant with his highest tendencies and seizable by his feelings or his intelligence. Otherwise it would be difficult for him to come into contact and communion with the Divine.

This entire chapter is wonderful and covers all the basics of sadhana:
http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/forum/index.php?topic=7216.0 (http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/forum/index.php?topic=7216.0)
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 08:15:43 AM
Friends,
Here are a couple of excerpts from AnDAL where she emphasizes that the relationship with God is indissoluble and that efforts(Tapas)has to be performed here and now:

குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லாத கோவிந்தா உந்தன்னோடு
உறவேல் நமக்கு இங்கு ஒழிக்க ஒழியாது
                       (Verse 28,TiruppAvai)

கோவிந் தற்கோர் குற்றேவல்,
இம்மைப் பிறவி செய்யாதே
இனிப்போய்ச் செய்யும் தவந்தானென்?
                            (NAchchiyAr Tirumozhi)

Here AnDAL asks sharply-'Rather than serving Govinda here in this birth,what is the Tapas that one would do going thence(to vaikuntam)'?

In the whole of TiruppAvai,AnDAL is emphasizing that God is here and Now.Not to perceive Him here and to look for him as the denizen of another divine world-Be it vaikuntam or Kailasam is mere speculation only.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 08:20:20 AM
Friends,
Mahakavi BhArati 's says the same in this  song from his jnAna pAdalgaL:

சங்கு

செத்தபிறகு சிவலோகம் வைகுந்தம்
சேர்ந்திடலா மென்றே எண்ணியிருப்பார்
பித்த மனிதர்,அவர் சொலுஞ் சாத்திரம்
பேயுரை யாமென்றிங் கூதேடா சங்கம்!


இத்தரை மீதினி லேயிந்த நாளினில்
இப்பொழு தேமுக்தி சேர்ந்திட நாடிச்
சுத்த அறிவு நிலையிற் களிப்பவர்
தூய ராமென்றிங் கூதேடா சங்கம்!


பொய்யுறு மாயையைப் பொய்யெனக் கொண்டு,
புலன்களை வெட்டிப் புறத்தில் எறிந்தே
ஐயுற லின்றிக் களித்டிருப் பாரவர்
ஆரிய ராமென்றிங் கூதேடா சங்கம்!

மையுறு வாள்விழி யாரையும் பொன்னையும்
மண்ணெனக் கொண்டு மயக்கற் றிருந்தாரே
செய்யுறு காரியம் தாமன்றிச் செய்வார்
சித்தர்க் ளாமென்றிங் கூதேடா சங்கம்!

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 08:25:34 AM
Friends,
This is how Sri ramakrishna puts it:

The inferior devotee says, 'God exists, but He is very far off, up there in heaven.' The mediocre devotee says, 'God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.' The superior devotee says: 'It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. Nothing exists but God.'

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: ksksat27 on May 20, 2014, 02:49:50 PM
Ksksat,
If you carefully and earnestly go through whatever has been presented you will get the answers to the questions that are raised prior to the series of post.The point is simply this-You are thinking that the form of siva is onething and the Nature of Siva which is Sivam is another,which is just belief and misplaced.All I have said is that without the Sivam or Consciousness,form does not mean anything.Form and name go along with the quality they represent.Mere three eyes,matted locks,trident ,Deer skin do not mean that it is Siva.Siva is Sivam-anbeY Sivam,Love alone is sivam.Siva appeared to the Nayanmars in various forms ,to say that all are his forms only.He appeared to somAsi nAyanAr in the form of an untouchable with his wife and 4 dogs.It was on account of the tapas of sOmAsimAra nAyanAr and how he had served sunadaramurthy nAyanAr who vouchsafed him this inner vision -that he could see God in that form and understood that the Lord has appeared in that form and that the 4 dogs meant the 4 vedas.He realized that all forms are that of siva and permeating them is the pure consciousness, that is sivam.The Rest of the Brahmins who had gathered there to perform yAgam rushed out of that place on seeing the untouchable and the dogs.They also saw what sOmAsimAra nAyanAr saw but did not recognize Him.Seeing a form does not mean anything without perceiving the consciousness behind the form.
Whoever said that chanting the name is for concentration?Please read my posts from the Gospel.
Our friend Subramanian has pointed out already that without recognizing the sivam in us,we cannot recognize the sivam in any other form,when he quoted manikkavAchakar.I have paraphrased what he has said.

Namaskar.

No Ravi sir, I agree Shiva is full of consciousness.  Shiva is made of Shivam.

But to say that such a shiva in kailash is a mere aid , an illusinaory aid is to deny the authority of the scriptures and vedas.

Secondly, the nayanmars many of them on many occasions have had visions of shiva .  Arunagirinathar's Muruga visioin was seen by many.

I think if we inherently heart and heart dont believe that Shiva and Vishnu exist and are mere imaginations, we can find hundreds of stories and poems to interpret that way.  Our mind is very tricky.

All I want to highlight is , to have a childish faith even at this moment we have not seen Vishnu and other forms.

When we exist with a body, can not Ishwara exist with a body?  And that body will be holding good until the final dissolution?  Why are we not digesting that fact?

Why to use advaita and mahatma's experience of Brahman to achieve our end of doubts on existence of forms?

I dont here say that consciousness and form are different, consciousness penetrates all forms but there are certain forms like that of Shiva which are identical in substance with Consciousness and the other mortla forms can worhsip Shiva to get liberated.

I think my message here is very simple and straightforward.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 03:13:10 PM
ksksat,

Quote
When we exist with a body, can not Ishwara exist with a body?  And that body will be holding good until the final dissolution?  Why are we not digesting that fact?

This is how isAvasya upanishad says:IsAvAsyam idam Sarvam.Anyway,I am not here to disturb your Faith and Belief.Please continue with whatever Faith and inspiration that you are endowed with.Godspeed to you.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 20, 2014, 04:12:43 PM
Dear Krishnan, Ravi,

The child Jnana Sambandhar's first verse (1.1.1) is this:



தோடுடைய செவியன் விடையேறியோர் தூவெண்மதிசூடிக்

காடுடையசுட லைப்பொடிபூசியென் னுள்ளங்கவர் கள்வன்
                                                  ---------------------------------     
ஏடுடையமல ரான்முனைநாட்பணிந் தேத்த அருள்செய்த

பீடுடையபிர மாபுரமேவிய பெம்மா னிவனன்றே.

He is having thodu (kuzhai for males and thodu for females.  He is wearing on one ear thodu (to mean that He has come
with His wife Uma (who gives Her breast milk to the crying child).  He comes in bull.  He is wearing pure white crescent moon.
He is applying vibhti from cremation ground.  He has stolen my Heart (ie. He is occupying my Heart).  Thus He stays already
in the ULLam (Bhagavan's word).  He is prayed to by Brahma who is seated on the lotus.  And He graced Brahma.  It is
the glorious Brahma Puram (another name for Sirkazhi).  He now stands on the temple towers of Sirkazhi with His wife.
Thus child Jnana Sambandha sings to his father, when the latter asked him, who gave milk to him!

From the above one can say that after occupying the Heart, Siva and Uma appear on the temple towers!

Thus not only Jnana Sambandha but also in many Nayanamars' cases, Siva first occupies the Heart and then only appear
before them.

Arunachala Siva.       
 
   
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 20, 2014, 05:11:19 PM
This is how Sundaramurti SwamigaL starts his padigams.  First is about TiruveNNai Nallur, 7.1.



பித்தாபிறை சூடீபெரு மானேஅரு ளாளா


எத்தான்மற வாதேநினைக் கின்றேன்மனத் துன்னை
              --------------------------------------------------------                   
வைத்தாய்பெண்ணைத் தென்பால்வெண்ணெய் நல்லூரருட் டுறையுள்

அத்தாஉனக் காளாயினி அல்லேன்என லாமே.

Here, the saint poet says:  I am always keeping you in my mind.  Instead of Heart, he uses the word manam, mind.
Thus, Siva occupies his mind within.  Then only he sees Him disappearing into TiruveNNai Nallur Temple.

Arunachala Siva. 
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 20, 2014, 05:19:24 PM
Saint Tirunavukkarasar in Tiru Adigai, in his first song requests Veerataana Sivan to cure his colic pain.  However,
in his second verse (4.002), he says:


நெஞ்சம்முமக் கேயிட மாகவைத்தேன்
---------------------------------------------------
நினையாதொரு போதும் இருந்தறியேன்

வஞ்சம்மிது வொப்பது கண்டறியேன்

வயிற்றோடு துடக்கி முடக்கியிட

நஞ்சாகி வந்தென்னை நலிவதனை

நணுகாமல் துரந்து கரந்துமிடீர்

அஞ்சேலுமென் னீர்அதி கைக்கெடில

வீரட்டா னத்துறை அம்மானே.

Thus he uses the word Nenjam (Heart) where Siva has occupied.  Then only he is able to see Veerattanathu Siva.

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 20, 2014, 05:23:12 PM
Saint Manikkavachagar says in Siva Puranam, 8.1.



நமச்சிவாய வாஅழ்க நாதன் தாள் வாழ்க

இமைப்பொழுதும் என் நெஞ்சில் நீங்காதான் தாள் வாழ்க
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
கோகழி ஆண்ட குருமணிதன் தாள் வாழ்க.....

The saint poet says that Siva has not left His nenjam (Heart) even for the time of a wink of an eyelid!  Thus Siva
has occupied His heart first.  Then only all praises about His feet come.

Arunachala Siva.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 05:31:38 PM
Subramanian/Friends,
All wonderful compositions.Thanks very much.Yet,these have a symbolic significance.The Description of the Primeval Lord,especially his adornment are all primeval.Here is a good article from shaivam.org.All the articles(Shaivam,A Perspective) figuring there are quite well written.You may have read them earlier.Please look up:
http://www.shaivam.org/shpnatur.htm (http://www.shaivam.org/shpnatur.htm)

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 05:38:39 PM
Subramanian/Friends,

வானாகி மண்ணாகி  வளியாகி ஒளியாகி
ஊனாகி உயிராகி உண்மையுமாய் இன்மையுமாய்
கோனாகி யான் எனது என்று அவரவரைக் கூத்தாட்டு
வானாகி நின்றாயை என் சொல்லி வாழ்த்துவனே
.

It is quite clear what the vision of Manikkavachakar is.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 05:50:11 PM
Subramanian/Friends,
There have been references to Kailasam/Vaikuntam worlds.For those interested,Here is an excerpt from kAnchi mahAswAmi's talks:

Nirguna brahman is subtler than the subtle state. By the work of MAyA the concrete creation takes place. This is the concrete state. In between the two states is the state of Hiranyagarbha. This is the state where creation has not yet taken place, but the saguna-brahman with its MAyA has kept the whole creation within itself as if in the embryo stage. Hiranya means gold. AvidyA (Ignorance), otherwise MAyA, by itself is like darkness, but by the presence of Brahman-consciousness it works out this wonderful task of creation, the consciousness which thus shines and reflects is said to be golden.
The gate that allows things to go out is also the gate through which things enter. So the creation which came out from Hiranyagarbha goes back inside through the same Hiranyagarbha. When does it go back? when Hiranyhagarbha is of age one hundred and thus his lifetime is over, he merges into nirguNa brahman. In our reckoning, 1000 caturyugas (the period of four yugas: Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali) make one day-time of Hiranyagarbha. Similarly another 1000 caturyugas make one night of his. So that his one full day is 2000 caturyugas. His years are calculated on this basis. Like that he lives 100 years of his. All that time Creation goes on. When he is of age 100, he is taken in into Brahman. Along with him all the worlds, jIvas and all that was created would go and merge into Brahman. Brahman alone is there now. Whatever time was spent in all this creation, an equal time goes on without any creation, but with Brahman alone. Then Creation begins again.
When the lifetime of Hiranyagarbha ends his Creation work ends and he merges in the ParamAtmA. This event is called 'Adyantika-pralaya'. You may recall I earlier mentioned it and told you I will come back to it later.
For the majority of of us jIvas who have a lot of karma balance and instead of going on the path of Karma-yoga, or Bhakti, or Yoga or JnAna, have to repeatedly die and be born, they are destined to suffer lakhs and lakhs of janmas till that pralaya. He who goes by the jnAna path merges in brahman in this life itself. The others who are 'upAsakas' escape from the birth and death syndrome, but still do not get the advaita-mukti. They go to Brahma-loka and from there at the time of Adyantika-pralaya dissolve in the very brahman along with Creator BrahmA.
What would be that Brahma-loka like? He who reaches there would not have either the internal enemies like lust, anger, etc. or the external enemies like disease, heat and cold, asura, etc. Their life will be pleasant and pure. This is true of all kinds of upAsakas who go there.
Besides this, for each particular kind of 'upAsaka' it will be different.
For the Karma person, it will be a place where whatever he desires that is not faulty will be fulfilled.
For the Bhakti person, it will be a place which has the favourite deity that he wanted to reach
. Brahma-loka does not mean that there is BrahmA there. Various bhaktas might say that even beyond, further higher up, there is Vaikuntha (the loka of Vishnu) and there is Kailasa (the loka of shiva); but really it is this Brahma-loka that appears to different viewers in a different way. The same paramAtmA shows up as Vishnu, Shiva in the 'different' lokas.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 20, 2014, 05:56:50 PM
Dear Ravi,

Nice and splendid quotes from Mahaswami. Incidentally Jayendara Saraswati Swami and Vijayendra Saraswati Swami
are camping in Bangalore.  And they are here since 25 days.  My wife went with her friends in a car and saw them
for a few days.  She also took part in Sumangali Puja one day.  Young 8 to 10 year old Vedapatasala boys are also
there brought from various places of Karnataka.  They chant every day some Veda portions.  All of them have been
accommodated in a school called Vidya Niketan in about 15 kms. from my house.

Arunachala Siva. 
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 20, 2014, 07:38:56 PM
Subramanian,
Your wife is truly blessed to have had darshan of the AchAryAs.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 07:44:17 AM
Friends,
What Sri kanchi MahAswAmi had said about the Brahma -Loka -"it is this Brahma-loka that appears to different viewers in a different way. The same paramAtmA shows up as Vishnu, Shiva in the 'different' lokas', is equally true for this Bhu Loka(terra firma) as well .
Sri Ramakrishna narrates the parable of the Dyer and his tub:

Quote
A certain man had a tub. People would come to him to have their clothes dyed. The tub contained a solution of dye. Whatever colour a man wanted for his cloth, he would get by dipping the cloth in the tub. One man was amazed to see this and said to the dyer, 'Please give me the dye you have in your tub.'

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: ksksat27 on May 21, 2014, 01:36:45 PM
ksksat,

Quote
When we exist with a body, can not Ishwara exist with a body?  And that body will be holding good until the final dissolution?  Why are we not digesting that fact?

This is how isAvasya upanishad says:IsAvAsyam idam Sarvam.Anyway,I am not here to disturb your Faith and Belief.Please continue with whatever Faith and inspiration that you are endowed with.Godspeed to you.
Namaskar.

Dear Ravi Sir,

This is not just  a superstitious  belief or a mythological faith on some form created by some minds that we dont want to disturb it.

Sir - it is there in vedas quite clearly, sudha spatika mangaasham thrinethram etc.

For 2+2=4, no faith is required, it is inherent.

I assumed all these days that for Sri Ramana devotees or Sri Ramakrishna devotees, belief in existence of Shiva and Kailash is inherent.

Again I am not tagging 'Ramana devotee' or Sai devotee -- just using some nomenclature.

So wondeirng where did we mix the neo-advaitins formlessness into the traditional approach?

Despite Appaya Dikshithar and famous advaita acharyas clearly proclaiming the vyavahaariak satyam of shvia and other forms, why are we having this hestitation to believe?

Do we feel shy or uneasy --  do we want to use Thiruppavai and Thiruvembavai to bypass the reality of forms and interpret some 'formless' meaning?

Is this what Krishna Chaitanya or Jnanasambandhar spoke about in their lives and teachings?

We can use our great literary knowledge to twist their poem's meanigns and give nice formless, consciouness based interpretation . what is the end result we achieve by that?




I am not a bit angry but bit strained to see this pattern in our thinking.

Regards,
Krishna
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 02:37:58 PM
Ksksat(Krishna),
you are saying:

Quote
I assumed all these days that for Sri Ramana devotees or Sri Ramakrishna devotees, belief in existence of Shiva and Kailash is inherent
.

Please quote from the saying of Sri Ramakrishna or Sri Bhagavan that substantiates your belief.I have already given some excerpts from Sri Bhagavan on this.I have also given excerpts from Sri Ramakrishna on God with form and his formless aspect.

The Vedic Hymns cannot be taken literally and are deeply symbolic.A cursory look at Sri Aurobindo's 'The Secret of the Veda' will reveal this aspect.Ditto with TiruppAvai as well.My presentations here are from what the Great ones have said and not my 'views'.
As I have said,I am not here to parade my 'Learning' or to twist or misrepresent things.If you do not find anything useful,please ignore it.Go by what appeals to you and what inspires you.
In case you are interested in knowing the implications of that phrase from isAvasya upanishad,you may refer to Swami Krishnananda's writing here:
http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/upanishad/upan_04.html (http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/upanishad/upan_04.html)

Namaskar.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 21, 2014, 05:20:33 PM
Sri Ksksat. I can only share my understanding about this topic.
According to pure monists (idealists) mind is everything and it shapes the world. So actually they say all is in your mind - there is no other minds, people, God, world, liberation, heaven, hell, bondage and so on. Within Advaitins there are Sages teaching that although the Self is one, It has many reflections and every reflection еxists as long as the medium of this reflection exists. So in this case Ishvara although is reflection of Brahman is eternal because the body (the medium) of Ishvara is eternal. The ignorant people (ajnanis) are not aware of the Self and are mortal. The Sages are Self-aware and mortal. Ishvara is Self-aware and Immortal. In this case Ishvara is reflection of the Self (as the souls are), not creation of one mind (your mind).

Shankara's Advaita is not what modern Advaitins teach. I must be very clear about that. No matter what the followers of Advaita today try to convince us. Shankara did not taught that Lord is creation of your mind and imagination. This is much later interpretation of Advaita followers. Shankara considered God to be very real, the Controller, The Bestower of Liberation and so on. He didn't taught that God is our imagination. If God is our imagination why would we need it? If God was your imagination how can you loving this Imaginary God being liberated? If loving imagination can give you liberation then many people must be liberated because many people love imaginary things (which are not God). So Shankara was not such kind of extreme monist creating some crazy philosophies contrary to the experience of the conventional world. Even more - it was one of the reason of His anger against the contemporary Buddhists around Him because most of them were close to solipsism, following Yogachara Buddhist school. So we must very careful when we use the word Advaita because of its historical connection with the personality of Shankara.

I personally cannot put Bhagavan Ramana in any category. In some places He very clearly teaches that Vishnu, Shiva and so on are just imaginary creations of the mind. For example this conversation:
Quote
Q: Do Vishnu, Siva, etc., exist?
A: Individual human souls are not the only beings known.
Q: And their sacred regions Kailasa or Vaikuntha, are they real?
A: As real as you are in this body.
Q: Do they possess a phenomenal existence, like my body? Or are they fictions like the horn of a hare?
A: They do exist.
Q: If so, they must be somewhere. Where are they?
A: Persons who have seen them say that they exist somewhere. So we must accept their statement.
Q: Where do they exist?
A: In you.
Q: Then it is only an idea which I can create and control?
A: Everything is like that.
Q: But I can create pure fictions, for example, a hare's horn, or only part truths, for example a mirage, while there are also facts irrespective of my imagination. Do the Gods Iswara or Vishnu exist like that?
A: Yes.

But He was also devoted entirely to Sri Arunachala. So considering the life of Sri Ramana I cannot give final answer of what He really believed. May be nothing. Or everything. Who knows? Bhagavan is a mystery but His followers are very much convinced that they know Him well.

About Sri Ramakrishna I can say that He had the most holistic understanding (or more correctly - interpretation) of the Vedic Knowledge, unsurpassed even by His beloved student Sri Vivekananda who was considered as one of the Vedic Giants of India. His teachings embrace all schools of thought and at the same time transcend them.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 06:41:11 PM
Friends,
God is ever present, accessible and responds to our Prayers.This is the teaching of all Great ones.To confine God to a special world is just untenable and no sage has said that.As Jesus has clearly said,that the kingdom of god is within us.This is what Sri Bhagavan has said.Every Sage has said this and there is no two opinion about it.I think I have covered just about all views about God through my posts from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

The communion with God takes place in our Heart and every devotee will acknowledge this fact from first hand experience.This is how swami Vivekananda puts it:

"Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy - by one, or more, or all of these - and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details".

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Nagaraj on May 21, 2014, 07:04:27 PM
Friends,

In Lalita Sahasranama, the thousand names of the Mother:

avyaktā - She who is not clearly seen
vyaktāvyakta-svarūpiṇī - She who is visible and not visible
vyāpinī - She who is spread everywhere

Jnaneshwar says:

The Sun appear to hine because of its rays,
But it is the Sun itself, which produces the rays
In act, that glorious Sun and its shining
Are one and the same

To have a reflection, one must have an object;
If we see a reflection, then we infer
That an object exist.
Likewise, the supreme Reaity, which is one,
Appears to be two

Through Her,
The absolute Void becomesz the manifest world
But her existence
Is derived from Her Lord

Shiva Himself became His beloved
But, without Her presence
No universe exists

Because of Her form
God is seen as the world
But He created Her form
Of Himself

Embarrassed by Her formless Husband
And Her own graceful form,
She adorned Him with a universe
Of myriad names and forms

In Unity, there is little to behold
So She, the mother of abundance
Brought forth the world as a play

She made evident the glory of Her Lord
By spreading out Her own body-form
And He made Her famous by concealing Himself

He takes the role of Witness
Out of love of watching Her
But when Her appearance is withdrawn
The role of Witness is abandoned as well.

I forcibly stop myself from posting more... such wonderful expresions of Beloved Jnandev

   (http://www.spiritual-happiness.com/jnaneshwar.jpg)
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: ksksat27 on May 21, 2014, 09:04:02 PM
Ksksat(Krishna),
you are saying:

Quote
I assumed all these days that for Sri Ramana devotees or Sri Ramakrishna devotees, belief in existence of Shiva and Kailash is inherent
.

Please quote from the saying of Sri Ramakrishna or Sri Bhagavan that substantiates your belief.I have already given some excerpts from Sri Bhagavan on this.I have also given excerpts from Sri Ramakrishna on God with form and his formless aspect.

The Vedic Hymns cannot be taken literally and are deeply symbolic.A cursory look at Sri Aurobindo's 'The Secret of the Veda' will reveal this aspect.Ditto with TiruppAvai as well.My presentations here are from what the Great ones have said and not my 'views'.
As I have said,I am not here to parade my 'Learning' or to twist or misrepresent things.If you do not find anything useful,please ignore it.Go by what appeals to you and what inspires you.
In case you are interested in knowing the implications of that phrase from isAvasya upanishad,you may refer to Swami Krishnananda's writing here:
http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/upanishad/upan_04.html (http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/upanishad/upan_04.html)

Namaskar.

The Vedic Hymns cannot be taken literally and are deeply symbolic.

Sir this is basic flaw in the core of the understanding.

Heart and Heart we tend to say like 'kandadhe kaakshi kondadhe kolam' 'whatever seen is only truth, whatever having is only truth'?

And we want to interpret dialogues of mahatmas to achieve this end.

Is then everything from the devotion of Tukaram to Markendaya just poetic, symbolic?

When we have two hands, two legs , we have a form, why not God sir?

Shiva was there those days comign to take Havis in the yagas.

Nowadays we dont have  that level of devotion I agree, so what?  We can nicely interpret and nicely prove scientifically using Talks or Gospel to deny their existence of Shiva and Vishnu.

But it is not so.

Until we see the slightest duality, yes , we have a universe and a rule governing the universe.

LIke human beings, at different levels, devas exist. 

Same Aurboindo Mother has seen Shiva whom she described as with the height until the ceiling.

She has seen Lord Ganesh and even painted one.

She has clearly told like for every spirit of nature like Rain, Fire etc. there lies a form behind the spirit.

We have Ashwini devas.  Adityas etc. 

Vibhuthi Yoga clearly says all this.

But if I go with atheistic mindset to only take all these symbolically, yes , our scriptures will allow our mind to get twisted. 

I think this is the danger of reading advaita in one sense. For this same reason, Kanchi Mahaswami told many times that he hesitated to open that topic.

To deny God is Atheism straight forward.

This advaitic symbolism, poetic, representation, aid, concentration etc. is another form of atheism in disguise.

That is why we should not jump to Mandukya Upanishad or Ribhu Gita without setting the basics right.

Anyway sir,  what has gone into your mind I cannot erase.  It is your samskaras.

What lies in my mind you cannot erase, it is my samskaras.

I think the underlying current of love and reference to Maharishee binds us together.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: ksksat27 on May 21, 2014, 09:15:02 PM
Sri Ksksat. I can only share my understanding about this topic.
According to pure monists (idealists) mind is everything and it shapes the world. So actually they say all is in your mind - there is no other minds, people, God, world, liberation, heaven, hell, bondage and so on. Within Advaitins there are Sages teaching that although the Self is one, It has many reflections and every reflection еxists as long as the medium of this reflection exists. So in this case Ishvara although is reflection of Brahman is eternal because the body (the medium) of Ishvara is eternal. The ignorant people (ajnanis) are not aware of the Self and are mortal. The Sages are Self-aware and mortal. Ishvara is Self-aware and Immortal. In this case Ishvara is reflection of the Self (as the souls are), not creation of one mind (your mind).

Shankara's Advaita is not what modern Advaitins teach. I must be very clear about that. No matter what the followers of Advaita today try to convince us. Shankara did not taught that Lord is creation of your mind and imagination. This is much later interpretation of Advaita followers. Shankara considered God to be very real, the Controller, The Bestower of Liberation and so on. He didn't taught that God is our imagination. If God is our imagination why would we need it? If God was your imagination how can you loving this Imaginary God being liberated? If loving imagination can give you liberation then many people must be liberated because many people love imaginary things (which are not God). So Shankara was not such kind of extreme monist creating some crazy philosophies contrary to the experience of the conventional world. Even more - it was one of the reason of His anger against the contemporary Buddhists around Him because most of them were close to solipsism, following Yogachara Buddhist school. So we must very careful when we use the word Advaita because of its historical connection with the personality of Shankara.

I personally cannot put Bhagavan Ramana in any category. In some places He very clearly teaches that Vishnu, Shiva and so on are just imaginary creations of the mind. For example this conversation:
Quote
Q: Do Vishnu, Siva, etc., exist?
A: Individual human souls are not the only beings known.
Q: And their sacred regions Kailasa or Vaikuntha, are they real?
A: As real as you are in this body.
Q: Do they possess a phenomenal existence, like my body? Or are they fictions like the horn of a hare?
A: They do exist.
Q: If so, they must be somewhere. Where are they?
A: Persons who have seen them say that they exist somewhere. So we must accept their statement.
Q: Where do they exist?
A: In you.
Q: Then it is only an idea which I can create and control?
A: Everything is like that.
Q: But I can create pure fictions, for example, a hare's horn, or only part truths, for example a mirage, while there are also facts irrespective of my imagination. Do the Gods Iswara or Vishnu exist like that?
A: Yes.

But He was also devoted entirely to Sri Arunachala. So considering the life of Sri Ramana I cannot give final answer of what He really believed. May be nothing. Or everything. Who knows? Bhagavan is a mystery but His followers are very much convinced that they know Him well.

About Sri Ramakrishna I can say that He had the most holistic understanding (or more correctly - interpretation) of the Vedic Knowledge, unsurpassed even by His beloved student Sri Vivekananda who was considered as one of the Vedic Giants of India. His teachings embrace all schools of thought and at the same time transcend them.

Hari

I agree all of your points 100% but with the exception of reference to Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

He no doubt looked like discouraging forms to many devotees.

But Bhagavan responded to the superficial layer of devotion and the mindset of those questioners.

When Papa Ramadas or Papaji appraoched, they got it straight into the Heart by a great Push.

So Bhagavan respdoned only to the insincerity or sincerity of the questioner.

When Venkata Sastri's death news was brought, Bhagavan told that he has reached Satya Lokha.

Ofcousre Bhagavan's devotion to form of Shiva and the form of the Hill is unparalleled.

He discouraged all 'symbolic' business when someone referred to arunachala hill as mere stone and symbolic. Bhagavan was the greatest Bhaktha in this sense.

When a devotee of Bhagavan post his nirvana period, approached teh Hugging saint Ammachi and told his reservations about Bhakthi and forms, Ammachi rightly corrected that devotee. Ammachi simply asked to go back and read all Sri Ramana literature esp. with respect to Arunachala Shiva to understand Bhagavan's devotion to Arunachala and Bhagavan being the prime Bhaktha .


Nowadays there is one more Anaratham going on with Dasavatars comparing it to some evolution theory .  What to say?  Is this what Jayadeva meant in his Ashtapadhi?

We are not here for literary and artistic appreciation. We are dealing with liberation .
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 09:52:48 PM
ksksat(Krishna),

Quote
To deny God is Atheism straight forward.

I am not sure whether you are reading my posts at all.Where did I deny God?

Anyway since you have referred to Saint Tukaram,I will just point to some wonderful abhangs by Saint Tukaram and Saint Eknath.They are soulfully rendered by Sri Bhimsen Joshi and the translations in English will be helpful to understand the meaning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjEPzIj73QQ&index=14&list=PL60AE8B003CFE60F3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjEPzIj73QQ&index=14&list=PL60AE8B003CFE60F3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUZjuYpjqA8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUZjuYpjqA8)

All the other abhangs featured here are wonderful as well .

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 21, 2014, 10:08:48 PM
Sri Krishna,
I am just saying that Bhagavan did not hold any philosophy and theory. He just told to people what they wanted to hear, what they were ready to hear and what would be best for them to hear. That's why I prefer to not put Bhagavan in any category. He is just the Self with form for the sake of the ignorant people and nothing more. His intention was that way I feel. He didn't want to become Guru or to develop some philosophy, to correct the other philosophies or people. He was simply fire always ready to burn the filth of the people who surrender to Him entirely. But no, I don't think that any of us understand Him. All His teachings, dialogues and so on are just glimpses of the the Reality, innocent pointers, being dissolved in It when the time is ready. But our problem is not that we cannot comprehend or understand Bhagavan. Our problem is that we don't know and realize who we really are. We are so overwhelmed with proving, disproving, correcting, subtracting, adjusting and so on our view of Reality that we forget our goal - to realize the Reality. May be this is because our desire for liberation is not strong enough.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 21, 2014, 10:17:55 PM
Sri Ravi,
I think that what Sri Krishna meant is the rejection of the reality of Ishvara (Saguna Brahman), not God in the absolute sense of the word. By atheism/theism we understand rejecting/believing in the existence of personal God or Gods. Rejecting the personality and the His/Theirs attributes makes them not real and so - fundamentally nonexistent which is atheism at the core. This is the objection of the Hare Krishna movements against the 'mayavadis' as far as I know. But this view is not held by many of the Vedantic teachers and must be scrutinized very carefully.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 10:47:27 PM
Hari,
Ishwara ,God,Bhagavan are all one and the same.Saguna Brahman means Brahman with Guna or qualities.God is one only.If we think of him as a person ,he accepts that and appears to us as a person. I have already posted from The Gospel regarding all these aspects.If only we calmly and patiently go through what has been posted ,we can benefit.
I will again post  excerpts  from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

"The devotees-I mean the vijnanis-accept both God with form and the Formless, both the Personal God and the Impersonal. In a shoreless ocean-an infinite expanse of water-visible blocks of ice are formed here and there by intense cold. Similarly, under the cooling influence, so to say, of the deep love of Its worshipper, the Infinite reduces Itself to the finite and appears before the worshipper as God with form. Again, as, on the rising of the sun, the ice melts away, so, on the awakening of Knowledge, God with form melts away into the same Infinite and Formless".

Personal God and Impersonal Truth
MASTER: "These things do not become clear until one has realized God. He assumes different forms and reveals Himself in different ways for the sake of His devotees. A man kept a solution of dye in a tub. Many people came to him to have their clothes dyed. He would ask a customer, 'What colour should you like to have your cloth dyed?' If the customer wanted red, then the man would dip the cloth in the tub and say, 'Here is your cloth dyed red.' If another customer wanted his cloth dyed yellow, the man would dip his cloth in the same tub and say, 'Here is your cloth dyed yellow.' If a customer wanted his cloth dyed blue, the man would dip it in the same tub and say, 'Here is your cloth dyed blue.' Thus he would dye the clothes of his customers different colours, dipping them all in the same solution. One of the customers watched all this with amazement. The man asked him, 'Well? What colour do you want for your cloth?' The customer said, 'Brother, dye my cloth the colour of the dye in your tub.' (Laughter.)

Illustration of the chameleon
"Once a man went into a wood and saw a beautiful creature on a tree. Later he told a friend about it and said, 'Brother, on a certain tree in the wood I saw a red-coloured creature.' The friend answered: 'I have seen it too. Why do you call it red? It is green.' A third man said: 'Oh, no, no! Why do you call it green? It is yellow.' Then other persons began to describe the animal variously as violet, blue, or black. Soon they were quarrelling about the colour.
At last they went to the tree and found a man sitting under it. In answer to their questions he said: 'I live under this tree and know the creature very well. What each of you has said about it is true. Sometimes it is red, sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue, and so forth and so on. Again, sometimes I see that it has no colour whatsoever.'
"Only he who constantly thinks of God can know His real nature. He alone knows that God reveals Himself in different forms and different ways that He has attributes and, again, has none. Only the man who lives under the tree knows that the chameleon can assume various colours and that sometimes it remains colourless. Others, not knowing the whole truth, quarrel among themselves and suffer.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 21, 2014, 10:57:30 PM
Sri Ravi,
of course that Brahman is Brahman being Saguna or Nirguna. The point is that according to some Sages the attributes are not real. This is what produce the tension between the major Vedanta schools. I am aware of all what you have posted. Thank you for sharing.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 11:16:07 PM
Hari/Friends,
To confine Lord Siva to kailasa and Lord Vishnu to Vaikunta is what we are questioning.Where is their Lordship if they are so confined?
This sort of a story is quite convenient for the story teller(the exponent of katha Kalakshepam)as well as listeners -Neither needs to do anything to realize the Divine here and now!Neither needs to prove the existence of siva or Vishnu  on earth.They comfortably hope to be transported to Kailasa or vaikunta after their death and be with the Lord there forever.
In a lighter vein ,wonder whether Christians would like to go to these worlds and Muslims as well;Or  have they reserved Different Lokas for their Jehova and allah and would rather avoid any mixup. :)

It is quite clear that this is just our lack of clarity and understanding that leads to this sort of a mixup.As Sri Ramakrishna clearly states:

Quote
To a devotee Krishna is Spirit, His Abode is Spirit, and everything about Him is Spirit
.

Quote
God is one only, and not two. Different people call on Him by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it 'jal', others at another place and call it 'pani', and still others at a third place and call it 'water'. The Hindus call it 'jal', the Christians 'water', and the Mussalmans 'pani'. But it is one and the same thing. Opinions are but paths. Each religion is only a path leading to God, as rivers come from different directions and ultimately become one in the one ocean
.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 21, 2014, 11:39:44 PM
Hari/Friends,

Quote
The point is that according to some Sages the attributes are not real

To perceive the attributes,there must be an observer.This is the point.What if the 'I' is totally effaced?What is left behind?This is something indescribable and such is the Nature of God,totally unfathomable.

This is how Sri Ramakrishna explains this:

Parable of the four friends

"Once four friends, in the course of a walk, saw a place enclosed by a wall. The wall was very high. They all became eager to know what was inside. One of them climbed to the top of the wall. What he saw on looking inside made him speechless with wonder. He only cried,'Ah! Ah!' and dropped in. He could not give any information about what he saw. The others, too, climbed the wall, uttered the same cry, 'Ah! Ah!', and jumped in. Now who could tell what was inside?

"Sages like Jadabharata and Dattatreya, after realizing Brahman, could not describe It. A man's 'I' completely disappears when he goes into samadhi after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman. That is why Ramprasad sang, addressing his mind:

'If you should find the task too hard, Call upon Ramprasad for help'.

The mind must completely merge itself in Knowledge. But that is not enough. 'Ramprasad', that is, the principle of 'I', must vanish too. Then alone does one get the Knowledge of Brahman."

This is why Sri Bhagavan has over and over emphasized 'who am I'-to unravel the unreal nature of 'I'.Instead of doing that we are trying to find out whether Ishwara is Real or unreal!The problem lies here.Sri Bhagavan's teaching is crystal clear.No one has taught the way he has done,so utterly simple and straight forward.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 21, 2014, 11:46:32 PM
Sri Ravi,
to tell that the attributes of Brahman exist or not according to the 'appearance' or 'non-appearance' of your "I" presupposes Ishvara to be your projection which makes Him unreal, mind's imagination. That's why for bhakta this is problematic explanation.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 22, 2014, 12:14:37 AM
Hari,

This is the reason why sri Ramakrishna says:

Quote
One should not discuss the discipline of the Impersonal God or the path of knowledge with a bhakta. Through great effort perhaps he is just cultivating a little devotion. You will injure it if you explain away everything as a mere dream
.

Yet,it is not something that a devotee has to be perturbed about.If the 'I' is dropped and the Devotee is free from want of any kind,why does he need anyone else,be it God.What remains is the whole,unqualified and perfect.There is just undivided consciousness.From the JnAni's perspective ,there is only this perfect whole,and there is nothing lacking of any sort.

With sadhana we will be able to harmonize everything and be free from conflict.Everyone has to blossom at his own pace in his or her way.

This is how Sri Ramakrishna explains this:

Quote
The worldly man's ego, the 'ignorant ego', the 'unripe ego', is like a thick stick. It divides, as it were, the water of the Ocean of Satchidananda. But the 'servant ego', the 'child ego', the 'ego of Knowledge', is like a line on the water. One clearly sees that there is only one expanse of water. The dividing line makes it appear that the water has two parts, but one clearly sees that in reality there is only one expanse of water.

Namaskar.
 
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 22, 2014, 12:30:19 AM
Here arises another problem. Is bhakti a mean or the Goal. If it is a mean then I accept. If it is the Goal why any annihilation of the "I"? Who needs it or why? Without "I" there is no bhakti. If it is only a mean why Sri Ramakrishna wanted to be born bhakta again? Then we should consider Him or Narada to be not Self-realized.

Saying that Ishvara's qualities are unreal makes bhakti an illusory game and thus it connot be used neither as a mean nor to be considered the Goal.

Even now I cannot understand why we try to syncretize all philosophies into One. This is just another megalomaniac play of the ego trying to take as much as it can. The Truth we are looking for is not in the Books.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 22, 2014, 12:51:33 AM
Hari,

I have absolutely no conflict with all this.It is quite simple and not contrived.This is not ego play.
Bhakti at its peak is called parabhakti and is no different than JnAna.In the fullness there is neither the path nor Goal.

Sri Ramakrishna wanting to be born again is not to be understood as if it is a personal wish.This is how Lord Sri Krishna also has said in The Bhagavad Gita:'In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium'.
Sri Ramakrishna talks about the ishwara Kotis and the Jiva kotis.This is another subject.The Ishwara Kotis are ever perfect,Nitya siddhas as He calls them.They are not born out of any compulsion due to karmic imprints.They come down to earth as ordained by the Divine will to show the way for other struggling jivas.

The sadhaka should take as much as he can assimilate and proceed with that.This is how Sri Ramakrishna puts it:

Quote
What do I care about knowing how many gallons of wine there are in the tavern? One bottle is enough for me. Why should I desire the knowledge of God's splendours? I am intoxicated with the little wine I have swallowed.

Namaskar.



Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 22, 2014, 08:17:32 AM
Friends,
I have posted excerpts from KAnchi mahAswAmi's talk on Hiranyagarbha Loka or Brahma Loka in this thread earlier.Those interested may read what sri paramahansa yogananda has written about this hiranya Loka as well as other worlds,from the Chapter:The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar.Please visit:
http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/chap43.php (http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/chap43.php)
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: atmavichar100 on May 22, 2014, 02:06:19 PM
ANNAMALAI SWAMI

Q: Many people feel an urge to worship something which is apart from themselves. They are not very attracted to the Self. Instead they want to worship an external Guru or a God.

AS: Worshipping forms of the deity or of the Guru is a useful aid
for as long as one is not mature enough to know the formless
of Bhagavan reality. These forms are just signals which point to the unmanifest reality.

If you want to point out a particular star to someone you might say, 'You see the tip of that leaf on the tree? The star is just to the
left of it.'

The leaf is only a signal which helps you to shift your attention
to what you really want to see. The form of the Guru is a similar signpost. He exists with a form as a perpetual reminder to us that our attention should always be on the formless reality.

Q: I am following the path of devotion and surrender. I like to do
puja and other ritual acts because they help me to keep my attention on God. Is it good to restrict our concept of God to a particular form?


AS: Pujas and different aspects of God are for those who want worldly things. As God is present in all forms, the best puja is to worship Him in all forms. The whole universe is a manifestation of
God. If you can love all beings in this universe equally you are
performing the highest and greatest puja.

Living by the Words of Bhagavan p. 291
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 22, 2014, 03:41:46 PM
Atmavichar/Friends,

Quote
Pujas and different aspects of God are for those who want worldly things.

This needs to be taken with caution.It may be meant for the person addressed by Swami.This is not to be taken as a general statement.
Swami gave me a piece of rock from ArunAchala.Before giving it to me(he also gave one to my brother-in-law who accompanied me),he said that he found these two rocks imbued with ஆகர்ஷன சக்தி,i.e power of attraction ;He asked me -"can you perform pooja to this?".
That was a momentous decision that I had to take!I am not given to doing pooja and the like.I thought of my wife who chants lalitha sahasranamam and asked him-'Is it okay to chant lalitha sahasranamam?'.'Yes' said Swami and handed me that rock which occupies a central place in the Altar.So,I have Arunachala with me,so to say.Swami gave the other rock to my brother-in-Law who is in the U.S and he has kept it in the chapel as well.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 22, 2014, 08:46:41 PM
Friends,

The main thing with worship is not what we worship, but that we worship, and if we have got love, we can easily surrender the feeling of 'I' which is the wall between ourselves and God.

Swami Ramanagiri

The above quote is quite like a Sri Ramakrishna saying!It goes straight to the essence of true worship.

I warmly recommend this article in David Godman's blog on Swami Ramanagiri:
http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2009/01/swami-ramanagiri.html?commentPage=3 (http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2009/01/swami-ramanagiri.html?commentPage=3)

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 11:26:50 AM
The main thing with worship is not what we worship, but that we worship, and if we have got love, we can easily surrender the feeling of 'I' which is the wall between ourselves and God.

If one worships Tooth Fairy can he/she get liberation?
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 01:59:25 PM
Hari/Friends,

Quote
If one worships Tooth Fairy can he/she get liberation?

The answer is here:

Quote
if we have got love, we can easily surrender the feeling of 'I' which is the wall between ourselves and God

We may begin with any object of worship that inspires love in us ; as the feeling intensifies and deepens,the object drops off and the focus shifts to the Heart,leading to the surrender of the 'I' feeling.Surrendering the 'I' is true worship.

Worship is called upAsana;upAsana means that which seats us or takes us near god.

I will post a very inspiring story from the Book 'Sri Ramakrishna ,The Great Master' a little later.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 02:16:34 PM
I understand your point, Sri Ravi. But for example Sri Vivekananda says in His work Bhakti Yoga very clearly what true bkati and love are:

Quote
"Love! For whom? For the Supreme Lord Ishwara. Love for any other being, however great, cannot be Bhakti."

That's why I gave this ridiculous example with Tooth Fairy, not from disrespect. According to Sri Vivekananda not all objects of worship are equal. Such kind of commentaries create some kind of tension and confusion.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 02:53:07 PM
Hari,
Yes,it is very important that we have clarity regarding what we mean by Love.I agree with you that commentaries cause more confusion sometimes.What Vivekananda has meant is that Love should not be limited by anything whatsoever.One should not stagnate anywhere by attachment to object of Love ,however great be that object,if it hinders this turning within to the core of our Being.
I understand what you are saying here.Thanks very much.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 06:14:24 PM
Sri Ravi, yes. "Love" also is very problematic topic within Vedanta for me because for Love there must be mind, there must be two. Even if we talk about loving our Self there is subject/object dichotomy (ego/the Self). Many Vedanta teachers teach that Love is Supreme and at the same time teach the Supreme is the absolute impersonal nondual consciousness. Who is to love whom there? We cannot even love ourselves in that state. So the word "Love" is somehow obscure for me from Vedantic point of view (I mean Advaita). May be it is a mask pointing just to Self-realization but being used because Love is the Supreme ideal for the phenomenal world. Love and Self-realization in the way Advaita (which Hindus respect most) teaches them as the Highest Goal simultaneously is somehow contradictio in terminis for me.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 07:36:59 PM
Hari,
There is truly no contradiction here.Love is not dependent on any object.Love is giving oneself.When one gives oneself totally Love alone is.This is called Sivam.
This is what Sage Tirumoolar says in his Tirumantiram:

அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பேசிவமாவது யாரும் அறிகிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிந்தபின்
அன்பேசிவமாய் அமர்ந்திருந்தாரே


Translation:
Love and Sivam are two(different)say the ignorant
Love alone is sivam, no one knows;
Knowing Love alone is Sivam
Abided  as Sivam in Love.

Sivam is pure consciousness and this is Love.(anbu in Tamizh).anbey sivam-means 'Love alone is Sivam'.This needs to be intuited.It cannot be grasped by thought.The problem is that we think of the impersonal as something cold and aloof,lacking the warmth and intimacy of the personal.This is how thought conceives the impersonal!

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 07:54:02 PM
It is not the point. See this. If the impersonal is the Supreme realization and the personal is not then realizing the one and discarding the other is not real and full realization because the manifest and nonmanifest exist simultaneously and cannot be separated.

Love is unconditional giving without wanting nothing in return in conventional sense of the word. So there must be 'other', second. Love is the feeling when you let go everything in the name of someone else. This is Love. There must be second person or at least ideal (which is also duality). What Sages mean by Love is not the Love as we understand it at least intellectually. And this is somehow misleading for the students and readers, especially for the christian westerners.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 08:09:44 PM
Hari,

Quote
What Sages mean by Love is not the Love as we understand it at least intellectually

Depends on what that understanding is.

Quote
Love is unconditional giving without wanting nothing in return in conventional sense of the word

Let us say for understanding sake that no one wants anything from us.Do we mean to say that Love cannot be!

Namaskar.

Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 08:15:58 PM
Hari,

Quote
What Sages mean by Love is not the Love as we understand it at least intellectually

Depends on what that understanding is.

Quote
Love is unconditional giving without wanting nothing in return in conventional sense of the word

Let us say for understanding sake that no one wants anything from us.Do we mean to say that Love cannot be!

Namaskar.

We always give to them, no matter if they want it or not. We give them our attention, care, love, food and so on. And this make us happy and joyful. If there is no giving and/or accepting there is no communication, no contact of any kind between two people don't you think so?
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 08:30:18 PM
Hari,

Quote
We always give to them, no matter if they want it or not. We give them our attention, care, love, food and so on. And this make us happy and joyful. If there is no giving and/or accepting there is no communication, no contact of any kind between two people don't you think so?

Friend,let us go into this,for understanding sake .Don't we see this is on flimsy ground and quite problematic?If others do not need anything ,what prompts us to give?Suppose they refuse to take,then what?If our happiness and joy depends on others and meeting their needs,what sort of happiness and joy would that be?

Namaskar.




Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 08:34:30 PM
If the bhakta has some bad experience in life and he knows that God has allowed this to happen do you think that this bhakta will stop to worship God and love Him?
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 08:40:04 PM
Hari,

We are discussing Love,the nature of Love.Whether this love is Self existent or has to depend on others for its existence.

We will discuss the subject of Bhakta a little later if need be.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 08:44:42 PM
We are talking about the Supreme Unconditional Love which is the bhakta's ideal and which even Advaitins preach. This was our topic in the first place. We don't talk about "the first teenage love" or sort of that. So I think that we do not diverge from the point of our conversation.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 08:48:55 PM
Hari,

Quote
We are talking about the Supreme Unconditional Love which is the bhakta's ideal and which even Advaitins preach
.

Yes,ofcourse.We are discussing this only.We are particularly discussing the Nature of Love that is Sivam where the Bhakta as an individual has ceased to be.There is only Being.This is the sum and substance of that Tirumoolar Verse.
This Love is Self existent.It does not depend on the 'Other' or 'Others'.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 24, 2014, 08:54:54 PM
There is no such thing for me as Self-existing Love. For Love there must be two. For 'Self-existing' Love there must be an ego (even in subtle form) as it is the case with the bhakti (as in Sri Ramakrishna, He Himself has told that). If it is not so it is not correct to use the world Love at all. It is only misleading. It would better be called Ananda (Bliss). 
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 09:12:54 PM
Hari,

The peak of Devotion is when one does not consider oneself as seperate from God.This is Parabhakti.This is Jnana.This is Love absolute.This is called ananya bhakti-Ananya means 'No other'.
This is how Sri Ramakrishna puts this:
One sees nothing but God everywhere when one loves Him with great intensity. It is like a person with jaundice, who sees everything yellow. Then one feels, 'I am verily He'.A drunkard, deeply intoxicated, says, 'Verily I am Kali!' The gopis, intoxicated with love, exclaimed, 'Verily I am Krishna!'
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 09:18:50 PM
Hari,
Please go with what you have understood;only we must not think that this is final.This is Sri Ramakrishna's advice.As we go along with sincerity and earnestness everything will become clear in due course.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 24, 2014, 09:21:37 PM
Hari,
We may try to understand it this way.
Love is inversely proportional to Ego;the lesser the claims of ego,the Greater the Love.If the Ego totally Disappears,Love becomes infinite.This is Sivam.
Namaskar
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 25, 2014, 07:43:33 PM
Quote
One sees nothing but God everywhere when one loves Him with great intensity. It is like a person with jaundice, who sees everything yellow. Then one feels, 'I am verily He'.A drunkard, deeply intoxicated, says, 'Verily I am Kali!' The gopis, intoxicated with love, exclaimed, 'Verily I am Krishna!'

There is still 'one', an ego.

Quote
We may try to understand it this way.
Love is inversely proportional to Ego;the lesser the claims of ego,the Greater the Love.If the Ego totally Disappears,Love becomes infinite.This is Sivam.

If the ego disappears Love disappears also and 'become' Sat-Chit-Ananda. There is no more Love.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 25, 2014, 07:54:38 PM
Hari,
If one exists ,two,three....many will be there.So,'I am He' has to be understood differently.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 25, 2014, 08:28:38 PM
Hari/Friends,
God is the source of all goodness and Love.You may call Love as Ananda.
Sat-chit-ananda and asti-bhati-priyam are one and the same.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 25, 2014, 08:54:42 PM
Sri Ravi,
in my view Love and Sat-Chit-Ananda are relative terms and should be used properly and right in the context. Especially now when more and more westerners are open to Eastern religions. I dont engage you with my opinion.


Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 26, 2014, 07:49:23 AM
Hari,
We are not into semantics here.We are just discussing the self existent nature of Love(anbu in Tamizh and Priyam in sanskrit).Love is Truth,consciousness ,Bliss.These are not 3 Different, unconnected,independent  terms.They are just used to describe the nature of what is beyond description.This is to say that it is Sat-means Truth that exists forever;it is Chit-means that it is self conscious and it is Ananda-means that it is Bliss that is self existent and causeless.
The simple fact is that there is one source that alone exists, is aware and is Bliss.(sat-chit-Ananda).The same is called asti,bhati-priyam.
If Westerners have to understand Eastern Philosophy,it is important that they learn to be familiar with this connotation and understand the terminology of 'Anbu' and 'Priyam'.
As Tirumoolar has clearly stated,Anbey Sivam-Love alone is Sivam.
Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 26, 2014, 08:16:46 AM
Hari/Friends,
This is what the Great Sage Yajnyavalkya said to his wife Maitreyi:

Quote
It is not for the sake of the husband that the wife loves the husband, but for the sake of the atman that she loves the husband, because she loves the Self. None loves the wife for the sake of the wife; but it is because one loves the Self that one loves the wife

You may like to read this talk of Swami Vivekananda:
http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_2/practical_vedanta_and_other_lectures/yajnavalkya_and_maitreyi.htm (http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_2/practical_vedanta_and_other_lectures/yajnavalkya_and_maitreyi.htm)

It is clear that in the worldly sense Love is so to say 'Proxy Love'.True Love is part and parcel of the Self and is the Self.

The above talk and especially Maitreyi's immediate Fear to dispense with the Gods is typical,and how she says:
Quote
"Sir, here is exactly where you have thrown a delusion over me. You have frightened me by saying there will be no more gods; all individuality will be lost. There will be no one to recognise, no one to love, no one to hate. What will become of us?"


This is exactly what we are discussing.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 26, 2014, 05:30:28 PM
We are not into semantics here.We are just discussing the self existent nature of Love.

I am just saying that Self-existent nature of Love is contradictio in terminis. For me only Sat-Chita-Ananda alone can be Self-existent. It's not about semantics. It is about right explanation of the matter to the people. Westerners would be totally mislead because of this play of words. So in a way semantics is important here.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 26, 2014, 05:32:24 PM
Hari/Friends,
This is what the Great Sage Yajnyavalkya said to his wife Maitreyi:

Quote
It is not for the sake of the husband that the wife loves the husband, but for the sake of the atman that she loves the husband, because she loves the Self. None loves the wife for the sake of the wife; but it is because one loves the Self that one loves the wife

You may like to read this talk of Swami Vivekananda:
http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_2/practical_vedanta_and_other_lectures/yajnavalkya_and_maitreyi.htm (http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_2/practical_vedanta_and_other_lectures/yajnavalkya_and_maitreyi.htm)

It is clear that in the worldly sense Love is so to say 'Proxy Love'.True Love is part and parcel of the Self and is the Self.

The above talk and especially Maitreyi's immediate Fear to dispense with the Gods is typical,and how she says:
Quote
"Sir, here is exactly where you have thrown a delusion over me. You have frightened me by saying there will be no more gods; all individuality will be lost. There will be no one to recognise, no one to love, no one to hate. What will become of us?"


This is exactly what we are discussing.

Namaskar.

Yajnyavalkya here talks about from the viewpoint of the mind. He says the we (the ego, mind) love what we love because the Self is inherent in these things we love.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 26, 2014, 07:43:35 PM
Hari,
'Love of the Object' is a product of the mind or ego and is limited and colored by the mind.Love is part and parcel of the Self and is unlimited.Self is ever revelling in The Self.

This what Yajnyavalkya says:

'Whose is this sweetness? How can there be any sweetness but He? That one sweetness is manifesting itself in various ways'

This Love is inherent in the Self and not in the ego or the mind.Just like if the sea bed is wet,the wetness does not belong to the sand but to Water.On account of Water,the Beach sand is wet.There is no wetness in Sand.
This is why Tirumoolar has said-'Anbey Sivam'.

Anyway,If you feel otherwise,please carry on with your understanding.It is sadhana that is important.

Namaskar.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Hari on May 26, 2014, 08:39:06 PM
Truly speaking, Sri Ravi. I dont have any problem with your interpretation at all. But according to my understanding and the most people around the world for Love there must be beloved (which is an object). I agree with you that sadhana and most importantly - the realization is what matter. What we do here is just mind's play.
Title: Re: Reality of Shiva, Vishnu and other forms
Post by: Ravi.N on May 27, 2014, 06:59:13 AM
Hari/Friends,
It is only natural that as humans we can appreciate God as a person.The Impersonal seems abstract and unrelated.Here is an excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna where the Master refers to the confusion that scholars  have regarding this and winds it up with his usual humour:

Confusion of mere scholars
"The instruction of a man who has not seen God does not produce the right effect. He may say one thing rightly, but he becomes confused about the next.
"Samadhyayi delivered a lecture. He said: 'God is beyond words and mind; He is dry. Worship Him through the bliss of your love and devotion.' Just see, he thus described God, whose very nature is Joy and Bliss! What will such a lecture accomplish? Can it teach people anything? Such a lecturer is like the man who said, 'my uncle's cow-shed is full of horses.' Horses in the cow-shed! (All laugh.) From that you can understand that there were no horses at all."
DOCTOR (smiling): "Nor cows either!" (All laugh.)

Namaskar